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Rath’s lawyer says her client should be acquitted of all charges

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Prague, July 13 (CTK) – The defence lawyer of David Rath, former Czech MP and regional governor charged with corruption, asked the court yesterday to acquit him of criminal charges because there is neither any direct evidence nor a coincidence of indirect evidence that would prove him corrupt, she said.
The accusations levelled by the police and the state attorney are but a pile of speculations, the defence lawyer, Marcela Ondrejova, said during the trial.
Rath denied the charges in his final speech yesterday.
Rath, a Social Democrat (CSSD) lawmaker (2006-2012), Central Bohemia governor (2008-2012) and health minister (2005-2006), has been charged with bribery linked to the planned reconstruction of a chateau. He is also suspected of having taken other bribes connected with the purchase of hospital equipment in the Central Bohemia Region.
If found guilty, he would face up to 12 years in prison.
Ondrejova told the court that the plaintiff’s accusations are based on manipulated bugged conversations.
“The [speaking] persons use only hints and brief formulations,” she said.
There is no evidence to prove that Rath was involved in corruption and took bribes, Ondrejova said.
“There is not a single piece of evidence, not even a series of indirect pieces of evidence. I propose that he be acquitted of the charges. Nothing else can be done if there persist doubts in favour of the accused,” Ondrejova added.
Rath, who pleads innocent, however, said yesterday it was clear beforehand that he would be convicted because of the public demand for “an exemplary case.”
He also said some judiciary representatives’s career was directly connected with his case.
Rath again indicated that his trial was political. He mentioned a personal involvement of some politicians, such as President Milos Zeman, former justice ministers Marie Benesova and Jiri Pospisil and former interior minister Jan Kubice, in his case.
“They all commented on the case in the media long before a verdict was issued,” Rath noted.
Rath was caught red-handed with seven million crowns, a suspected bribe, in a wine box in May 2012 and arrested.
In his final speech, he focused on the wine box, calling it a symbol of his case and of manipulating the evidence. He insisted on having no idea about the money in the box.
The state attorney has proposed a prison sentence of at least nine years for Rath and the forfeiture of his property.
The court interrupted the trial of Rath at 15:00 yesterday and it adjourned it until Tuesday morning.
Rath spoke for about two hours. He said he had managed to deliver about one-third of his speech.
He told CTK previously that his final speech before the Prague Regional Court would last long, at least 1.5 days of the proceedings.
After his final speech, the court will give Rath a chance of having the “last word” before issuing the verdict.
($1=24.238 crowns)

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